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Keywords:

  • Notch;
  • Delta;
  • 3′ UTR;
  • mRNA;
  • polyadenylation

Abstract

Notch and Delta proteins generate Notch signaling that specifies cell fates during animal development. There is an intriguing phenomenon in Drosophila embryogenesis that has not received much attention and whose significance to embryogenesis is unknown. Notch and Delta mRNAs expressed in early-stage embryos are shorter than their counterparts in mid-stage embryos. We show here that the difference in sizes is due to mRNA 3′ processing at alternate polyadenylation sites. While the early-stage Notch mRNA has a lower protein-producing potential than the mid-stage Notch mRNA, the early-stage Delta mRNA has a higher protein-producing potential than the mid-stage Delta mRNA. Our data can explain the complementary patterns of Notch and Delta protein levels in early- and mid-stage embryos. Our data also raise the possibility that the manner and regulation of Notch signaling change in the course of embryogenesis and that this change is effected by 3′ UTR and mRNA 3′ processing factors. Developmental Dynamics 239:1220–1233, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.